Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Reverse Parturition as it Pertains to the Political Process

Okay, this is what the ABC newsreader just said:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard and the man who would be Kevin Rudd.

So consider that line for a second:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard, and the man who would be Kevin Rudd.

Who is this man who would be Kevin Rudd if he isn't Kevin Rudd? Why does he want to be Kevin Rudd? Why would anyone want to be Kevin Rudd? What could conceivably drive a man to become Kevin Rudd? Kevin Rudd, of course, does not have to become himself because he already is himself, but he can hardly help it.

Perhaps the ABC presenter meant:

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard and the man who would be, Kevin Rudd.

The comma has shifted, as has the meaning. Now Kevin Rudd wants to be John Howard, which would stop him from being Kevin Rudd, true, but only by the tactic of becoming an equally boring person, John Howard. If this is the case, one wonders why Kevin Rudd wants to become John Howard when the role of John Howard is already adequately filled by a man who happens to go under the name and identity of John Howard. How, exactly, does Kevin Rudd plan to subsume the identity of John Howard and discard his old identity of Kevin Rudd? Are the two political beings planning secretly to become one political entity, rather like a grotesque process of reverse parturition?

John Howard.

Kevin Rudd.

It's true, you know. They are starting to look like one another.

I'm scared now.

UPDATE! - Come to think of it, the line could even have another interpretation.

The scene is set for the battle between John Howard, and the man who would be, Kevin Rudd.

Maybe it just means that Kevin Rudd is the man who would be without really stating who Kevin Rudd would be. He's a would be would be, if you like, or a would be if he could be. Who knows what Kevin Rudd would be if he could be. John Howard? Dame Edna Everage? Kodos of Mars?

On the news, they also had a story about a man who got half-swallowed by a shark. Only half? Maybe he asked the shark kindly to consider the benefits of veganism, and so disgusted the shark that the carnivorous amphibian spitted him out. Who knows? It's these little existential dilemmas that keep me going.


Anonymous said...

(Careful with those commas, Eugene: apols. to Pink Floyd)

Let me say, from the outset, that I am not, never have been, and would not, be Kevin Rudd, not for all the Camellia sinensis in Zhongguo.

However, there do seem to be quite a few folks who, apparently, actually would be Kevin Rudd. Go figure.

There's whoever setup but it's a bit short on naked self-promotion to be TheRealKevinRudd.

Even though specifically says "This isn't Kevin Rudd", rather that "It's a support site to show that Kevin Rudd has many supporters.", I'm thinking that's a pretty Ruddish sort of dissembling strategy. deploys the requisite first-person subjective pronoun vis a vis his Ruddicity, but Alexander Downer being a registered friend of TheRealKevinRudd is unlikely because it would be an uncharacteristic lapse of taste on KR's part, and Dodo wouldn't accept him on his friend list anyway. So scratch this one.

For my money, the most likely candidate from The Men Who Would Be kevin Rudd is the purveyor of ... he's playing a straight bat, just recycling his press clippings, putting on the brave little soldier face, yet we see giveaway hints of that famous glass jaw in his reply when someone had a go at him over his dress sense. And TheRealKevinRudd wouldn't be using his real name, he'd quite possibly use a moniker that got in a dig at the pisspot Canberra press gallery, such as D D O'Malley, a consultant in Canberra indeed.

Then again, all of the above notwithstanding , the original puzzle of the radio announcer's statement might be explained by an accidental personal nominalisation of a title, and a misplaced commas: s/he might have meant to say "...the battle between THE PRIME MINISTER and the man who would be, Kevin Rudd".

Sincerely, Good To Be With You

Anonymous said...

Hello Will (and that clever Goodta fellow),

Look, can I just say this:

I don't want to be John Howard.

I don't want to be an imitation of John Howard.

I want to be Prime Minister.

And I want to be Kevin Rudd, my own man.

Don Quixote said...

I'd suggest that while Kevin Rudd was the "man who would be," the shark bite man was almost the "man who wouldn't be".

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